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"Andreas Schmidt has expanded the position of Bertelsmann in the international e-commerce business with his creativity and commitment. And for that we are grateful."
——Bertelsmann Chairman/CEO Thomas Middelhoff.
THE SCHMIDT HITS THE FAN
Andreas Gets the Sack as Bertelsmann Reorganizes Online Businesses
Well, the Bertelsmann offices no longer smell like Schmidt—Andreas Schmidt, that is.

Bertie announced today that Schmidt was leaving the company to "pursue new entrepreneurial opportunities outside Bertelsmann."

Schmidt had served as the President/CEO of Bertelsmann’s eCommerce Group (BeCG) since June 2000. During that time, he led the acquisitions of CDNOW and digital locker company myplay, he helped integrate BMG Direct into the DirectGroup, and he was the point guy on the strategic alliance with Napster. Does anyone remember Napster?

The move was just part of an overall reorganization of Bertie’s online businesses. The former BeCG will now be folded into the newly formed business unit BeMusic (combining the record club BMG Music Service, CDNOW and myplay), which will itself fall under the aegis of DirectGroup Bertelsmann.

BeMusic will be responsible for the ongoing implementation of the online/offline music distribution strategy in the US. The strategic alliance with Napster—Schmidt’s crowning achievement?—will not be a part of BeMusic, but will be managed by DirectGroup Bertelsmann.

"Andreas Schmidt has made an essential contribution to the development of digital distribution with his ideas and initiatives," said DirectGroup Bertelsmann CEO Klaus "Here’s Mud In Your" Eierhoff. "He has played a major role in making Bertelsmann the internationally leading enterprise in digital music distribution today. This is a tremendous achievement for which we are thankful."

"Andreas Schmidt has expanded the position of Bertelsmann in the international e-commerce business with his creativity and commitment. And for that we are grateful," said Bertelsmann Chairman/CEO Thomas "Hey Diddle Diddle, Put Your Kitty In The" Middelhoff.

"Andreas Schmidt has provided us with countless hours of cheap scatological humor and for that we are both thankful and grateful," said HITS Editor-In-Chief Lenny Beer. "At least BMG still has Smellie and Schmidt-Holtz."

Former NBC exec VP and BOL International President/CEO Stuart Goldfarb has been named the new President and CEO of the entire BeMusic business unit, which will be headquartered in New York. Bertelsmann plans to launch its BeMusic service in 2002. No word on when the new and improved Napster will get its launch.

Bertelsmann, whose interests span publishing, television and music, has been streamlining its media empire ahead of an expected stock market flotation in the next two to three years. Having already made major cuts at its music arm BMG, including 1,100 jobs already axed, the company has been reviewing its business for other possible cost-saving opportunities.

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